Monday, May 2, 2016

Maggie's First Holy Communion

Yesterday was Maggie's big day!  First Holy Communion!  After cheering her brothers on in a 5k race that morning, she got to open her presents from Phil and I:

She got a new swimsuit (rash guard + bottoms), two rompers, an American Girl journal for us to fill out together, The Daring Book for Girls, a handmade pearl rosary, a watch, and Nancy Drew books.  

Then it was time to change and get ready for Mass.  We were so lucky that my sister-in-law gave us this dress (never been worn!) and it fit Maggie perfectly.  The shoes and tights were from Easter, and the veil was my wedding veil, I just cut off the long layer and left the top shorter one.  My mom gave her a miraculous medal necklace with pearls (because Margaret means pearl).  It all came together beautifully and of course Maggie was the prettiest girl at the ball church.  Not that I'm biased ;)

Maggie and her bestie, Robby, have been friends since they were bambinos.  What a special day for them both!  Our parish has all the kids wear robes so everybody looks the same, and I love it!

I couldn't help but think that we dressed her in a white gown for her Baptism, then for her First Communion, and perhaps one day I will get to see her on her wedding day in another white gown.  Having a girl is fun!


The kids in Maggie's class had to pick a number out of the hat to choose the reserved pew for the family, and Maggie picked number one!  We finally got to sit up front for Mass!   Since my three oldest boys were serving altar and Maggie was sitting with her class, we were able to fit Phil's parents and my parents in the pew with us and the little boys.

The whole group of 26, very girl-heavy:

Okay, so I totally cried during the Mass, but really lost it when Maggie received the Eucharist.  It was extra special because our pastor, Monsignor, was distributing the Eucharist to all the children, but when it was Maggie's turn to receive, he stepped aside and let Father Dave (pictured below) give Jesus to Maggie for the first time.   Fr. Dave is Maggie's godfather, and while I knew he was coming to the party, I didn't know he was going to con-celebrate the Mass, let alone give Maggie First Holy Communion.  Happy tears flowed.

Maggie with my parents.

Maggie with Phil's parents, who travelled all the way from Maryland for the weekend to celebrate with her.

Maggie and her namesake, Maggie :)  I would call them Big Maggie and little Maggie, but I don't think my mother likes that very much ;)

We remembered to take a photo of Maggie with us right before we all changed into comfy clothes for the party!

 It was a small family party, since some of our siblings were out of state, but it was very nice and I think everybody had a great time.

Below is our new kitchen island with a makeshift (plywood + tablecloth) counter top.  The real one is coming this week.

The kid table.

My thirteen year old nieces asked me to take their "model pose".  So cute!

Here's the First Communion Dress cake I made for Maggie.  All the men at the party thought it was supposed to be a chalice.  Men, humph.  But I guess it worked out either way.

In the weeks leading up to this day, we had so much going on.  We were remodeling the house and then frantically trying to put it back together and clean and prep for the party.  We were tired and stressed but I made sure to really savor every moment of Maggie's big day, and it couldn't have been more beautiful.  We are truly blessed with our faith and family and friends and I am so thankful.

Friday, April 29, 2016

7QT: April's Over and May's Around the Corner

Hi!  It's Friday!  Let's get at it with Kelly and Crew...


These maternity jeans are my favorite
May 1 is National College Acceptance Day, and our high school is celebrating it today since May 1 falls on a Sunday.  All the seniors can wear their future college gear, and all the faculty and staff can wear their alumni gear.  Nothing says Steubenville more than a couple who met there, dated throughout Austria, got engaged at the Port and is currently expecting their 7th child.  Heehee!  We are living the FUS stereotype but also the dream.


John-Paul, who's in 7th grade, takes Latin at school, taught by our pastor.  The 7th and 8th graders take the National Latin Exam, and he got an Outstanding Merit award.  I was so proud of him!  I mean, Latin?  It's all Greek to me.


Alexander started swimming lessons this week.  He cried on the morning of the first lesson, saying he didn't want to sink, and what if he didn't know anybody, and what if everybody laughed at him, etc. etc.  He is such a sensitive worrywart, that one.  We reassured him it would be great, and it was!  There were a few close-to-tears moments when he couldn't see me from where he was perched, but as long as he could make eye contact with me every 30 seconds, he was golden.  His instructor is actually a student from our high school, and he did such a great job with the kids, I was very impressed.  Afterward, we went out for ice cream  where Xander ordered "chocolate ice cream, with a scoop, in a cup".  I don't get it either :)


Maggie Moo is getting First Holy Communion this weekend!  

We just did this all last year with Eamon, but these sacramental moments are so amazing and they never get old no matter how many kids you have.  I will be crying, I'm sure, when my only girl, in her beautiful white dress, with her beautiful clean soul (she asked to go to Confession tomorrow in preparation), receives Jesus for the first time.  I'm actually taking her for a little photography session tonight, because I guess that's what you're supposed to do?  I missed that memo with the boys.


Our house is practically completely finished.  Except that the counter top for the island won't be delivered until next week.  It was a mix up at Lowe's so they gave us a piece of wood in the right size to cover our island for now, and I will put a tablecloth over it, spread out the food, and hope nobody minds too much!  Remind me next time I want to do a house remodel that I should just move instead ;)


Today at work, I get to take out the Administrative Professionals for lunch to celebrate Administrative Professional's Day on Wednesday.  It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it...wink.  After weeks of *mostly* protein shakes and salads and eggs and chicken, I'm excited to chow down on some fried fish and chips and tartar sauce.  


How about a joke to send you on your way?

Why don't cows wear shoes?

Because they lactose.

Have a wonderful April/May weekend everybody!!  See ya on the flip side!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Mother's Day Gift Idea

I was coveting my mom's new cookbook, and then Sophia Press sent me a copy of my very own Vatican Cookbook.  God is good!  And so is this cookbook!  

It is written by the Swiss Guards, and includes stories and recipes from the last three popes.  Plus, there are pages of gorgeous photos - of the food - but also the Vatican, the popes, and in and around Rome.  

Imagine preparing a meal that was served in the Vatican to Pope Saint John Paul  II and then serving it to your family...that would blow my kids' minds :)

These sisters prepping herbs make me smile.  

Some of the recipes are a little advanced, but many are very simple, even my JP is planning on making the Dulce de Leche recipe soon.  I plan on making this having Phil make this Tiramisu recipe too. 

The Swiss Guards fascinate me, and I love reading about them.  I think this collaboration was such a great idea!

There are recipes from Poland, Bavaria, and Argentina to honor our popes.  This one below is a favorite of Pope Benedict with a difficult name but looks like an easy recipe for a yummy version of bread pudding.

Even if you never try a recipe, this book would make an excellent conversation piece for your coffee table.  Seriously, this cookbook would be a great Mother's Day gift if anybody is looking for an idea.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Trust of a Child

While packing up for Great Wolf Lodge last week, I mentioned out loud "Declan is going to have so much fun at the water park, but he doesn't realize he will be in the car for 5 hours!"  My Dad replied, "You could lead that boy to slaughter, and he would happily go along."  A gruesome image, but so accurate of a toddler's mindset.  

Declan has just turned two, and though he probably understands more than he can communicate, he truly doesn't know our future plans.  He gets in the car, not knowing if we are just headed to the kid's school, or the grocery store, or Mass, or on a family vacation five hours away.  

He was an angel in the car, in case you were wondering, only slightly annoying with his demands for "elmo music".  When we got to the hotel, he wandered in with the kids, probably not understanding that this was where he would be sleeping that night, and happily followed them, bathing suit-clad, down the elevator to the water park.  He splashed and played for hours before we scooped him up and went out to dinner.  

The whole time, I kept experiencing the trip from his viewpoint.  Thinking about how strange it would be to wake up one morning, be thrown in the car for a long ride, get to a water park and be allowed to play like crazy, get taken out for chicken nuggets and fries and then brought back to sleep in some random room.  But he was so happy, because he was with his family.  He trusts us and doesn't worry about getting his needs met, he knows we are in control of making that happen.  He's never lacked for any need, never felt unloved, never worried about what the future holds.  He just lives in the moment.  For whatever reason, his unbridled joy and trust were just really visible and remarkable to me.

I was unloading my thoughts unto Phil about all of this on our drive home, and Phil just looked at me and said "And that's why God wants us to be like little children."

Of course!  God is the parent, and we are his children, He's got the trip of our lives all planned out, and we are just supposed to trust that everything that happens will be used for good and for our ultimate salvation.   We need to live every day, happy to be alive, happy to be part of God's family, happy to trust in his wisdom.  Each day is a gift (the "present") and regretting the past or worrying about the future is pointless.  Little kids just do this naturally, why does it have to get all confusing and tangled up as we grow older?  Declan gave me a wonderful reminder on how to live, and I'm once again humbled to receive a lesson from my children.